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The answer to the migration crisis lies in Central American communities themselves

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15.02.2019

Nicaragua is roughly 4 million steps from the US border — more if you’re a child. Our policy discussions too often focus on the last of those steps. It’s time to consider the first ones.

No discussion of US immigration policy is complete without considering why so many families risk so much by fleeing their home countries. No serious consideration of those reasons can fail to acknowledge the importance of education and community development in resolving the current crisis.

I first traveled to Nicaragua in 2014, on a research fellowship to support sustainable coffee-farming practices. The diligence and ingenuity of the campesinos wasn’t a surprise, nor were the perseverance and resourcefulness of the country’s many migrant workers. But I hadn’t anticipated that such a labor-intensive enterprise would hinder educational opportunities for children.

Migrant workers in Nicaragua earn just a few dollars a day, and family farmers don’t earn much more. Many families are forced to pull their children from school and bring them to work, even in the best of times. Too often, removing children from school........

© Boston Globe